|U.S. Senator from California|
From: November 10, 1992 – Present
|Predecessor||John F. Seymour|
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|Spouse(s)||Judge Jack Berman (div.)|
Bertram Feinstein (deceased)
Richard C. Blum
Dianne Feinstein's career in liberal politics began when Governor Pat Brown appointed her to the California Women’s Board of Terms and Parole. She would go on to get elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. Feinstein became Mayor of San Francisco in 1978 upon the assassination of Mayor George Moscone. She was elected in 1979 and then reelected in 1983. In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale seriously considered her for vice president, but passed her over for Geraldine Ferraro. In 1990, Feinstein made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of California, losing to Republican Senator Pete Wilson. However, she did win his Senate seat in a special election and has been reelected three times. When coming into office Feinstein distanced herself from the Clinton administration. She voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement and opposed the 1993 Clinton Health Care Plan. Feinstein was reelected in 1994 by a 47%-45% margin, in what was one of the most closely watched elections that year.
Feinstein is currently the Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. She endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in June 2007, and later pushed her for the vice presidential nomination. Dianne Feinstein was mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor of California again in 2010, however in February 2010 she announced she would not be running for Governor.
Feinstein supported the Iraq war resolution in the vote of October 11, 2002 but has said she was misled by the President. She is also strongly opposed to 2nd amendment rights, one of her first accomplishments in the Senate was passing an assault weapons ban and she unsuccessfully sponsored legislation that would require licensing of all guns. While she is not considered a conservative, Feinstein is considered more moderate than most Democrats from the San Francisco Bay Area. Feinstein supports the USA PATRIOT Act saying it helps the "protection of the American people." She supported the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and supported the GOP’s Medicare prescription-drug bill in 2003. She is also a supporter of capital punishment and was the main Democratic sponsor of the 2006 constitutional flag burning amendment.
On other issues Dianne Feinstein is quite liberal. She has a solidly pro-abortion voting record. Feinstein called Guantanamo Bay detention camp a "failed experiment" and believes it should be shut down.
After Feinstein's unsuccessful gubernatorial race in 1990, she was fined $190,000 for failure to properly report campaign contributions.
In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of $26 million. By 2005 her net worth had increased up to $99 million. Her 347-page financial disclosure statement draws clear lines between her assets and those of her husband, with many of her assets in blind trusts.
In January 2009, the issue was raised whether Feinstein violated Senate ethics rules to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest when she introduced legislation that gave $25 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to help finance an FDIC proposal to avoid home foreclosures by promoting loan workouts and increasing federal loan guarantees. Just before the FDIC had signed a contract with CBRE, her husband's firm, to unload foreclosed properties for prices higher than industry averages. Spokesmen for the FDIC, Feinstein and CBRE said there was no connection between the legislation and the contract and that the couple didn't know about CBRE's business with FDIC until after it was awarded.
- The Almanac of American Politics, 2010